Our Homeland – Kazakstan.
Republik of Kazakstan is situated in the very centre of the Eurasian continent.
Area: 2.720.000 sg. km (i.e. the country is the 9th largest in the world). Common border with Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrghyzstan and Turkmenistan.
Climate is sharply continental. Average winter temperature in January from - 1°C - 5°C (south) to -20°C (North). In summer the temperature varies from +18°C to +30°C.
Natural zones: forest-steppes and steppes, deserts and semi-deserts.
Landscape: the overwhelming portion of the territory is occupied with plains, plateaus, low hills, low lands with only 10 % of its territory accounting for the mountains of Tien Shan, Tarbagatay and Altay.
Main waterways are Yertys, Syrdaria, Oral, Ishim, Tobol, Ili, Shu, Caspian and Aral Seas, lakes Balkhash, Alakol, Tenghiz and Sasykkol.
Mineral resources: Kazakstani entrails harbour over a half of world chromium reserves with lead, zink, copper, silver and gold into the bargain. Kazakstan ranks first in the world as to tungsten reserves, second – in phosphorus ores, third – in manganese, fourth – in lead and molybdenum and eighth – in iron ores.
The Constitution defines the state system as a form of presidential republic considering it the most flexible version in conditions of today. The President ensures coordinated performance of all the branches of state power and accountability of power bodies to the people. Parliament of the Republic is the supreme representative authority in the country: it performs legislative functions. Executive power is assumed by the Government of the country. The country recognizes ideological and political pluralism. All public associations enjoy equal rights in the fase of the Law. National currency of the Republic – tenghe.
Ethnically the more than 17-million strong population of Kazakstan is rather diverse. Along with the two major groups, Kazaks and Russians, there reside over 100 other nationalities. Among them are Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Germans, Uzbeks, Tatars, Uigurs, Azerbaijanians, and many others. The people of Kazakstan has every reason to be proud of political stability in the state and of traditionally friendly inter-ethnic relations.
State language of the Republic is Kazak. Russian enjoys the status of the official language.
Economically, Kazakstan is divided into five major regions: Central, North, South, West and East ones. Astana remains the capital of the country. Until then both Astana and Almaty are the seats of the President's residencies.
Industry – the Basis of the Economy.
Tremendous is the contribution made by industrial enterprises into building of the gross national product of the Republic of Kazakstan. Major industries in the Republic are production of mineral wealth, chemistry, power engineering and metallurgy. No less significant branches as machine-building, light-and food industries.
The produce of mining-and-smelting works enjoys fine demand abroad which makes it major source of hard currency influx. At present they have elaborated programmes of rarional development of mining basis, of reconstruction and updating of dressing and such other smelting works. Besides there have been launched new industries to put out produce of supreme commodity readiness.
East Kazakstan is to host a titanium-producing industry of its own which is expected to put out slags, sponge titanium, metallic titanium, rolled products, titanium white.
Export deliveries of industrial products manufactured in Kazakstan are effected to more than a hundred foreign countries.
Kazakstan – is one of the leading grain producers in the world. In grain-growing regions they cultivate mainly strong and durum varieties of wheat with high content of gluten. Worth noting is that these are the very grades which enjoy high demand in the world market.
Kazakstan is the country where they sow rice, buckwheat, rape, soy-beans, oats, cultivate cotton, sugar -beet, and a great many fruit and vegetables.
Cattle-breeding, one of the key branches of agriculture, provides the population with capital foods and the light industry – with valuable raw materials.
Predominant in northern regions is dairy cattle-rearing and swine-breeding while the economy of southern areas is dominated by beef cattle husbandry, sheep-breeding, horse-rearing and camel-breeding with beef cattle husbandry and horse-rearing in the West and East of the country.
In many regions of the Republic, particularly in desert and semi-desert ones, major branches of agricultural production that determine ways and living standards of the ethnic population are sheep-breeding, horse-rearing and camel-breeding. As to sheep-breeding it is practiced mostly along the following lines: fine-fleeced, semi-finefleeced, meat-and-fat and lamb-fur ones.
All across the 1800 km-long "vertical line" that separates southern and northern confines of Kazakstan one landscape zone replaces another: forest-and-steppe, steppe, semi-desert and desert ones. In the West the territory of Kazakstan shares its border with the Caspian Sea, in the East it is the Altay taiga that lines the Republic and high peaks of Tien-Shan constitute the border .of the country in the South. Three major rivers – Yertys, Tobol and Ishim flow into the Arctic Ocean while the rest of the streams either fall into land-locked reservoirs (Caspian and Aral seas, the lake of Balkhash) or just get lost in the vast steppe or desert ranges.
In Kazakstan there grow over 6000 species of plants and on its vast space one can come across almost 500 species of birds, animals (178 spcs), reptiles (49 spcs), amphibia (12 spcs), fish (107 spcs) . The host of the invertebrate is ever greater: insects only number some 30000 species.
The Usturt plateau situated between the Caspian and Aral seas is a slightly desert-like plain, here and there grown with wormwood and unprepossessing shrubs of Russian thistle. Only in wide-spread drainless depressions there occur shrubs of black saxaul. Steep ledges (chinks) add immensely to the inimitable beauty of the landscape.
Particularly picturesque is the Western chink whose height attains 340 m: its eroded precipice would, time and again, take quite fanciful forms. The area is inhabited by such rare animals as Usturt moufflon or urial, ratel from the family of martens, long-needled hedge-hog and a good many species of wild cats: karakal, barkhan cat and the famous cheetah. No small is the number of slim gazelles-zhairans, beautiful bustards (or Jacks) and such other birds of desert.
Slopes of Northern Tien-Shan are covered with fir-woods while those of the West are grown with scarce archa trees eventually intermingled with hish-grass waterless valleys. Here the gorges are grown with apple-trees and other nut-and-fruit trees. High up in the sky one can see mountainous peaks covered with permafrost snows and glaciers.
It's only here that one can come across a frightful snow leopard (irbis), Tien-Shan brown bear, Siberian stag. The "feathered world" is represented by the famous bearded vulture whose wing-span is up to over 3 m, a Himalaiyan ular or mountain turkey-hen, a snow griffon-vulture, a golden eagle , an Alpine finch and fairy-like blue bird-Alpine jackdaw...
If you happen to visit taiga-grown mountains of the Altay you might come across a giant of an elik, a handsome Siberian stag, our smallest deep- a musk-deep ("kabyrga"), the famous sable and gracefully handsome chipmunk.
Only here one can find a wood-grouse, a hazel-grouse, a willow grouse and a ptarmigan. Small wonder that the national authorities have turned the Alpine lake Markakol in South Altay into a special reserve to protect the local flora and fauna. The lake hosts a good many waterfowl whereas its banks and the woods serve a fine nestling place for such rare birds as fish-hawk and black stork. As to the Alpine heights they are inhabited by an exceedingly rare birg species – the Altay ular.
Steppes of Kazakstan are no second in beauty to other landscape zones. They gain particular fascination because of sweet-and salt-water lakes which attract thousands of waterfowl represented by dozens of species of ducks, geese, gulls, herons, sandpipers, roseate terns.